Lockheed Martin started it.
The defense contractor teamed with AgustaWestland to offer the US101 for the $11 billion CSAR-X contract award went negative on Thursday, dishing to reporters about the key “weaknesses” facing both of their competitors.
The Sikorsky HH-92 proposal is “high-risk”, according to Lockheed, because they’ve decided late in the bidding process to switch to a 5-blade rotor. That decision means Sikorsky must extend the tail boom and enlarge the fuel sponsons, which also increases risk, Lockheed says.
I asked Sikorsky for a response.
“As the GAO reported in its decision upholding Sikorsky’s first protest, the US Air Force rated our aircraft performance risk as ‘low’ while our competitor received a ‘high’ risk rating. Accordingly, these misinformed statements by our competitor smack of desperation,” Sikorsky said.
Lockheed found similar fault with the Boeing HH-47 proposal. Boeing will cut into a major load-bearing structure by widening the cabin door to 48-inches, Lockheed says. This is the kind of design change that introduces a variety of unknown-unknowns into the development phase, even for an aircraft based on a 47-year-old airframe, according to Lockheed.
“The airframe modification to incorporate the larger cabin door does not fundamentally require a change in the airframe structural arrangement or the use of advanced materials. The airframe loads, load distribution and the material allowables are all known, making the risk low.”
- One year ago today: Boeing wins CSAR-X contract
- CSAR-X: The movie, by Boeing
- CSAR-X intrigues continue